HI, CAROLYN: I'm 23 weeks pregnant, and at every obstetric appointment — except with one doctor I saw — I get a lecture about how much weight I'm gaining. It feels like they are saying I'm not doing it right and I feel very defensive and go home and cry after these appointments. I have gained 20 pounds so far. I mostly eat fruits, veggies, lean protein, etc., but I also indulge my sweet tooth and cravings. I walk almost every day and do strengthening exercises. I understand I have gained a little more than recommended, but it doesn't feel like it merits a smacking every time I see the doctor. At the last appointment she acted like I was on a path to gain 70 pounds, which seems like a completely unfounded fear. Am I being overly sensitive? I want to switch to the doctor who didn't talk about my weight, and seemed more relaxed overall. If I do switch, should I say why, so she knows this is a sensitive topic? I don't want to stay with the original doctor and bring it up, but both are in the same office and even if I switched, I could get the original doctor when I give birth — which would be awkward. What do you think?
DEFENSIVE: The easiest route: Switch doctors, say nothing and if the on-call schedule hands you the original doctor to perform the delivery, then trust her to be professional.
This is a good option if you don't want another hassle.
The more difficult, get-it-overwith route: Keep your doctor and say your piece: "I am working hard to eat healthy food, exercise and manage my weight. It feels like you are saying I'm not doing it right and I feel very defensive."
This is a good option if you don't want to spend the rest of your pregnancy dreading which doctor you'll get.
If speaking up feels too difficult, then please consider: Your appointments are yours. They are about your care. You get to direct that care. If you don't like the way your doctor responds, then you switch.
More important: Being a parent forces you to become a caregiver, and being a caregiver means you're an advocate on a whole other level. You aren't just speaking for yourself; you're the last line of defense for your charge. So, if you don't feel comfortable starting, holding steady through and managing any awkwardness after a difficult conversation, then now is the time to start getting good at it.
RE: DEFENSIVE: I'm so sorry you're going home crying! However, your obstetricians are right to be concerned! You're putting yourself at risk for gestational diabetes, blood pressure problems and a Caesarean section. Ask your doctors for a referral to a nutritionist to help figure out better food choices and portion control.
NURSE: You're right that weight is a risk, but none of us knows whether the weight-harping doctor is right about this particular patient.
The nutritionist referral is a nice bypass, though, thanks.
TO DEFENSIVE: My doctor kept bringing up weight gain — and I ended up gaining only 30 pounds. I handled it by simply saying: "Enough. I've heard you, and I don't need to hear you again." He stopped mentioning it.